Something truly special from the Veneto and Friuli (Last Summer Six-Pack)

Above: A shot from my trip to Friuli and Slovenia in Spring, 2008.

Something Truly Special from the Veneto and Friuli
(Last Summer Six-Pack 2010)

Prosecco NV Costadilà
Favaro 2008 Erbaluce di Caluso
Vajra 2007 Barbera d’Alba
Ronco Severo 2007 Refosco
Ronco Severo 2005 Schioppettino
Vajra 2008 Moscato d’Asti

$150 plus tax (and shipping if applicable)
free delivery for San Diego residents.

To order, please just send me an email by clicking here.

I love all these wines in this six-pack, of course. But three of them are extra-special. The Prosecco because it is raised by a biodynamic farm and is aged on its lees. It’s simply one of the best expressions of Prosecco I’ve found in the U.S. It’s aged on its lees, which gives it a much richer flavor and aroma than the commercial Prosecco you generally find in the States. It reminds me of the Prosecco I would drink when I was a student in Padua (Padova) and musician in Belluno (see below).

If the Prosecco weren’t hard enough to find, I was blown away when I tasted the Refosco and Schioppettino by Ronco Severo (SEH-veh-roh), a biodynamic farm that makes barriqued Merlot and Cabernet for big-spending Germans and Americans (great, I’m sure, but not really my speed) and KILLER indigenous Refosco and Schioppettino aged in LARGE TRADITIONAL CASKS for the rest of us. I love these gorgeous red wines. They are real, they are fresh (even at 3 and 5 years out) and they taste like no other red grape. They embody that “unbearable lightness of being” that attracts me in great wine, where the wine’s tannic structure is balanced by a lightness of body. These grapes are true originals and wonderfully food-friendly. I rarely see Refosco and Schioppettino and I was simply thrilled when I got to taste these. See my other descriptions below… and thanks for reading and clicking! Happy summer of 2010!

There’s a reason why I always crave Prosecco (from the Veneto) and the red wines of Friuli during summer months. In the 1990s, when I was a grad student at UCLA, I spent three summer touring with my cover band in the province of Belluno.

We were based in Pedavena (about an hour and a half north of Padua and 45 minutes south of Belluno), at the old 1930s Birreria, now defunct but then in its second heyday (acquired and reopened by Heineken as a “music club”). I was in my 20s and we had us some great times.

The townsfolk called us “gli americani” and we were local celebrities. We played Beatles, Stones, and Jimi Hendrix songs, the occasional original, and U2 (pronounced OOO DOOO-eh, in Italian) by request. Sometimes we’d go out and play in open pastures where they had brought generators, a PA system, and grills where they would cook ribs and polenta and beans. The back drop was right out of “The Sound of Music.”

Above: That’s the main room at the Birreria. John Krylow played bass that year and the next and Charlie George played drums all three years. Whenever we get together in San Diego, one of us is bound to bring up a memory of those times and say, “those were the days.”

Prosecco DOC Costadilà

If you’ve ever heard me tell the story about how I got into food and wine writing, then you know it has to do with Prosecco. Because I studied, lived, worked, and played music for so many years in the Veneto (in specifically in Padua [Padova] and Belluno), Prosecco was the first wine I really and truly got to understand. I “lived” Prosecco: the friend I made and the families that invited me over for Sunday lunch in those days all had their favorite Prosecco, the one they’d visit every summer to stock their cellar for the rest of the year.

When I found out this Prosecco was available in the States, I jumped at the chance to get it. It’s one of the so-called Triple A group, which follows the teachings of Nicholas Joly, the father of contemporary biodynamic farming and winemaking in Europe today. And unlike most Prosecco (but like the Prosecco the “grandfather makes,” the kind I like!), it is aged on its lees (the leftover yeast, when fermentation is completed). THIS IS REAL Prosecco, with a richness and brightness in its fruit that you will never find in commercial Prosecco. I love this stuff.

Above: The Birreria in Pedavena has fallen upon not so happy days but in its second-incarnation heyday, when it was reopened and we played there, it was so much fun. That’s the view from the outdoor stage. You can see the “baita” or cabin in the back.

Favaro Erbaluce di Caluso DOC 2008

Erbaluce, loosely translated, means the “Grassy Light.” It’s a wonderful clone of Italy’s ubiquitous Greco, which, in this case, grows in the foothills of the Alps in the northeastern area of Piedmont. This wine is bright with acidity and fruit and its freshness comes from the high elevations where it is farmed and raised. A great food-friendly white, with balanced alcohol. Perfect for summertime drinking (fish tacos any one?).

Vajra 2007 Barbera d’Alba

Tracie P and I recently got to taste the Vajra wines again here in Texas and this Barbera just keeps knocking my socks off. Lip-smacking wild berry fruit, bright acidity, balanced alcohol. I wanted to include a Barbera in the last Summer Six-Pack because Barbera is one of those wines that you can put in the fridge and chill before serving (many northern Italian families serve their Barbera slightly chilled in the summer). This is probably my number-one burger pairing for the summer of 2010.

Ronco Severo Refosco 2007

Ronco Severo Schioppettino 2005

These two wines are the gems of this offering. I had never seen Ronco Severo offered in the U.S. before and I jumped at the chance to grab these. See my note above. No matter what grape anyone compares these to, don’t be fooled: they are Friulian all the way and they don’t taste like Sryah or Merlot or anything. They taste like Friuli!

Vajra 2008 Moscato d’Asti

The Vajra Moscato has been SUCH a hit with my friends and family that I thought I’d over here (if only so that Tracie P and I can drink what I don’t sell!). It’s wonderful wine with almost any kind of dessert and it’s a classic pairing for fresh fruit. But, thinking outside of the box, it’s also THE PERFECT POOLSIDE WINE, with just 5-7% alcohol. It’s just easy and fun and delicious. Tracie P and I stand by our statement that this is one of the best Moscato d’Asti we have ever tasted.

Happy summer of 2010 everyone!

To order, please just send me an email by clicking here.

2 Comments

Filed under Six Pack

2 responses to “Something truly special from the Veneto and Friuli (Last Summer Six-Pack)

  1. Pingback: Venetian Valentine: A Menage a Trois in Italy « Pairing Matchmaker

  2. Pingback: Venetian Valentine: A Menage a Trois in Italy « Maison de Ferme

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